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Top 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 2

December 11, 2015

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Here are the final 10 entries in my Top 25 Albums of 2015 list!  You can see the whole thing on one page here.  Also, a Spotify playlist of most of the albums can be found here.  Enjoy.

PS – Just in cased you missed my Top 50 Songs of 2015, that list can be found here.

10) Bop English – Constant Bop

Constant Bop is my favorite album to come out of Austin this year.  I adore White Denim and want frontman James Petralli to get things back underway there, but I hope he doesn’t take too long to roll out another Bob English effort.

:Bop English – Dani’s Blues (It Was Beyond Our Control):

09) Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom

It took me a few months to get around to giving Youth Lagoon’s Savage Hills Ballroom my full attention, but once I did it pulled me in and refused to let go.  It’s a sprawling effort that’s best experienced via headphones.

:Youth Lagoon – The Knower:

08) FIDLAR – Too

FIDLAR’s Too is a worthy follow-up to their 2013 self titled debut.  I love how sloppy, scatterbrained and loud it is.

:FIDLAR – 40oz. On Repeat:

07) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly has grown on me more and more as the year has gone on.  At first I liked about half of its songs, and now I think that from front to back it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

:Kendrick Lamar – Alright:

06) Annabel – Having It All

Whether or not you’re a fan of emo music, you should give Annabel’s Having It All a shot.  It’s really well crafted and the songwriting is fantastic.

:Annabel – Having It All:

05) Tame Impala – Currents

Currents is another stellar set of tracks from Tame Impala.  Now if only I could decide whether it’s their weirdest album or their most accessible.  It might actually be both.

:Tame Impala – Let It Happen:

04) Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett is a woman with a lot on her mind, and she shows it all throughout Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.  It’s such a charming, interesting album.

:Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best:

03) Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

Every single song on Rose Mountain is fantastic.  I really thought the album would serve as Screaming Females’ big break, but the band seems to still be flying under the radar.  That’s all wrong.  They deserve all the love!

:Screaming Females – Criminal Image:

02) Doomtree – All Hands

Doomtree really hit it out the park with All Hands.  If you like intense, anthemic, energetic, brainy hip hop, then you need to make sure that the Minneapolis collective’s latest effort is in your rotation.

:Doomtree – .38 Airweight:

01) Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love

I was packing totally unreasonable expectations for Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities To Love – their first album in a decade – and it not only managed to impress the hell out of me, but it kept me engaged for nearly the entire year (it came out in January).  That means every other album released in 2015 had the chance to dethrone No Cities To Love, and it never happened.  SK forever!

:Sleater-Kinney – A New Wave:

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Show Of The Week

November 11, 2015

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Yeah yeah yeah, Fun Fun Fun just wrapped and I get that you’re more than happy to sit on your couch and watch TV, but you have to get back out there.  More specifically, you need to get back out there tonight.  Even more specifically, you have to go to the Mohawk, as both the outside and inside stage are loaded with rad acts.

Outside you’ll find Youth Lagoon and Moon King.  The former’s latest album, Savage Hills Ballroom, is one of my favorite releases of the year, and I’m really looking forward to hearing songs off it live.  Openers Moon King are also currently working a new album, Secret Life, and I think their crisp, pop sound should make them worth showing up early for.

Once Youth Lagoon and Moon King are done outside, you’ll be able to head inside for a loud, fun time with Shopping and locals Feral Future and Xetas.

That’s five bands for $18.  Talk about a deal!  Do it.

Doors are at 6:30pm for the outside stage.

By the way, if you want, you can only buy a ticket for the inside show.  That’ll run you $12.  Doors are at 9pm.

More recommended shows!

Thursday:
- Keep Shelly in Athens, Babes at Empire Control Room
- Ghetto Ghouls, US Weekly, Phantom Head, New Berlin at Hotel Vegas
- Blue Healer at The Sidewinder
- Ruby Fray, Guts Club, Devin James Fry, Real Live Tigers at Cheer Up Charlies

Friday:
- Health, Pictureplane at the Mohawk
- The Sour Notes, Austin Leonard Jones, Basketball Shorts, Bitter Birds at Hotel Vegas
- Wiretree, Suburban Slang at Lamberts

Saturday:
- Daniel Francis Doyle & the Dreams, Ego, Que Pasa?, Polio Club at Hotel Vegas
- Deafheaven, Tribulation at the Mohawk

Sunday:
- Star Parks at Hotel Vegas

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Quickdraw: Big Grams, Chvrches, Death Cab For Cutie, Small Black, Youth Lagoon

September 11, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Big Grams – Fell In the Sun:  Phantogram and Big Boi are Big Grams.  The former are good here, but it’s the latter that makes the track memorable.  He just straight up just kills it at every turn.  The act’s self titled album is due out September 25 via Epic.

:Chvrches – Clearest Blue:  A couple of weeks back I got to check out Chvrches new album (it’s good, by the way), and this was one of the tracks that really stood out.  I’m glad it got released as s single.  Every Open Eye is due out September 25 via Glassnote.  See the band at Fun Fun Fun Fest in November.

:Small Black – Back At Belle’s:  This is the third single to be released off of Small Black’s upcoming LP.  It has a shoegazey kind of feel to it that I think is pretty great.  Best Blues is due out October 16 via Jagjaguwar.  See them at Sidewinder on the same night.

:Death Cab For Cutie – The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive (Tycho Remix):  Admittedly, if it’s been touched by Tycho, then I’m in 100%.  I do, however, really love what was done here – the track is now so much more atmospheric and headphone-worthy.  Grab this one-off effort while you can!  You can see Death Cab For Cutie at ACL Live twice later this month.

:Youth Lagoon – Rotten Human:  “I’d rather die than piss away my time”  This is easily one of my favorite Youth Lagoon songs.  Every lyric in it just hits hard.  Well done, Trevor Powers.  Savage Hills Ballroom is due out September 25 via Fat Possum.

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Youth Lagoon

July 14, 2015

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I spent a good bit of time yesterday listening to the new track from Trevor Powers (aka Youth Lagoon), and I just couldn’t seem to come around on it.  Then it clicked.  I’m not entirely sure what made me change mind – though my money is on how fond I am of the way it delightfully picks up right before the two-minute mark – but either way, I’m down to check out the rest of what he’s assembled for his third LP.  Tell me if you’re in, too.  Enjoy.

:Youth Lagoon – The Knower:

Savage Hills Ballroom is due out September 25 via Fat Possum.

Bonus Video:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 3

December 4, 2013

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We’re now firmly in the mid-section of this list.  I hope that so far you’ve been digging it and have maybe found some new stuff.  Let me know if you have any guesses on what will be in the top spot!  Enjoy.

30)  :Action Bronson – The Rockers (Featuring Wiz Khalifa):  Out of the ton of good stuff that Action Bronson released in 2013, this track is my favorite.  He sounds great in it, and I especially dig the Wiz Khalifa verse.  From the SAAAB Stories EP.

29)  :Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing:  At some point in 2014 I’m going to finally get a new Phantogram album.  Until then, I’ll just let this gem swirl around in my head.  From their self titled EP.

28)  :Divine Fits – Ain’t That The Way:  If you ask me, this is the best Spoon cover that Divine Fits have ever done.  Ha!  Seriously though, it’s a pretty great pop song.  From the Ain’t That The Way/Chained To Love digital single.

27)  :M.I.A. – Y.A.L.A.:  Another year, another great single from M.I.A.  She may be a bit unhinged, but her work is consistently interesting and worth your time.  From Matangi.

26)  :Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush:  This infectious piece of noise pop has been a favorite of mine for months.  Also, as a Joanna Newsom fan, I’m admittedly a sucker for the name Joanna Gruesome.  From Weird Sister.

25)  :The Orwells – Other Voices:  While the hard working, fresh out of high school dudes in the Orwells make me feel lazy and old, I can’t help but dig their music.  This rock tune is as catchy as it gets.  From the Other Voices EP.

24)  :Son Lux – Lost It To Trying:  This song is definitely Sigur Ros-light, but I think that actually makes me like it more.  Toss on headphones or just crank your stereo, either approach works well with Son Lux.  From Lanterns.

23)  :The Men – The Seeds (Acoustic Version):  The original version of this track is rather nice, but I think the acoustic take really makes for something special.  It’s definitely my favorite song by the Men.  From the Campfire Songs EP.

22)  :Youth Lagoon – Dropla:  Throughout the year this Youth Lagoon song was one of my go-tos for when I just wanted to kick back and listen to something.  It has such a stellar, well layered arrangement.  From Wondrous Bughouse.

21)  :Lightning Dust – Loaded Gun:  I ended up not loving Lightning Dust’s new synth-enthused sound as much as I thought I would, but I do think this particular song is rad.  Be sure to jam it.  From Fantasy.

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Stream This

August 16, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Ty Segall – Sleeper
Superchunk – I Hate Music
No Age – An Object
Porcelain Raft – Permanent Signal
Braids – Flourish // Perish
Pure Bathing Culture – Moon Tides
White Hills – So You Are … So You’ll Be
Diana – Perpetual Surrender
Larry Guy – Years Not Living
Willy Mason – Carry On
Joseph Childress – The Rebirths
Shigeto – No Better Time Than Now
Crocodiles – Crimes Of Passion
Feuding Fathers – Kid Tested, Father Approved
Sarah Neufeld – Hero Brother
Paper Lions – My Friends
Still Life Still – Mourning Trance
Native – Orthodox
Laura Veirs – Warp And Weft

VIDEOS

Austin’s Love Inks will release Generation Club on September 24 via Monofonus Press.

HAIM will put out Days Are Gone on September 30 via Columbia.

Grooms’ Infinity Caller is due out September 3 on Western Vinyl.

Arctic Monkeys will release AM on September 10 via Domino.

Camera Obscura put out Desire Lines earlier this year on 4AD.

Drew Price will release Friends And Family on September 10 via Happenin Records.

King Tuff recently re-issued 2008′s Was Dead.

Butter The Children’s True Crime EP is due August 20 via Downtown Records.

Nite Jewel’s One Second Of Love is out now.

Those Darlins will put out Blue The Line on October 1.

Jacuzzi Boys will put out a self titled album on September 10 via Hardly Art.

Tom Lark is expected to put out a full length next year.

Wax Idols’ Discipline And Desire is out now on Slumberland.

Youth Lagoon’s Wondrous Bughouse is out now on Fat Possum.

These New PuritansField Of Reeds is out now on Infectious Music.

Kim Deal’s Are You Mine? single is out now.

Ra Ra Riot’s Beta Love is out now on Barsuk.

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Who To See At SXSW 2013

March 4, 2013

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Previewing SXSW is such an odd task.  It would take a year’s worth of daily posts to cover just the great acts playing, and I think doing a mammoth playlist that contains every SXSW artist is a waste of time.  So, today I’m keeping things clean and providing five bands that are can’t miss this year, and then I’m tossing in five local acts for those of you that aren’t based in Austin.  Enjoy.

See These 5 Bands At SXSW

MS MR

For me, MS MR are the one band that I have to see at SXSW this year.  Their 90s-influenced sound is great, and I’ve yet to come across a song of theirs that hasn’t totally won me over.  By the way, I recommend getting in line early for wherever they’re playing, as their recent placement in the season three trailer for Game Of Thrones will certainly bring out the masses.

:MS MR – Bones:

Foxygen

Foxygen have put out one of the year’s best albums, which should be reason enough for you to seek them out.  I, however, want you to do it because their current live show is so odd.  They’re a young group that haven’t quite figured out how to keep their energy (or nerves) in check, so what ends up on stage is a really interesting watch.

:Foxygen – On Blue Mountain:

Chvrches

The first couple of singles from Chvrches were met with all sorts of buzz, and now they’re positioned to use SXSW to officially blow up.  I think their live show seems like something that could be a sweeping, joyous experience, and I can’t wait to see if that’s what they deliver.

:Chvrches – The Mother We Share:

Youth Lagoon

Youth Lagoon (Trevor Powers) will probably exit SXSW with a packed bandwagon.  Wondrous Bughouse, one of the year’s most anticipated albums, will be out before the festival starts, and I really think if there’s anyone that will be able to get the crowd to be quiet and pay attention, it’s him.

:Youth Lagoon – Dropla:

Haim

This trio is rolling into SXSW with a ton of buzz due to the overwhelmingly catchy Falling.  This could make for a situation where people just impatiently wait to hear the one track, but something tells me these ladies will avoid that by delivering one awesome dance party after another.

:Haim – Falling:

See These 5 Austin Bands At SXSW

Dana Falconberry

Dana has been one of Austin’s hardest working artists for quite a while, but it wasn’t until last year’s Leelanau that she finally got everyone to really start paying attention.  If you like your folk music to be intricate, yet accessible, then I highly recommend that you make some time to see her play.

:Dana Falconberry – Lake Charlevoix:

PS – Dana is playing SOTO’s day party, DC VS Austin, at Sidebar on March 15.  I would have mentioned her here regardless of this tidbit, but I figured you should know.

The Eastern Sea

The Eastern Sea certainly took their time to get to where they are now, and that patience has worked in their favor.  Plague turned out to be a great album, and the large lineup behind frontman Matt Hines allows for a rather expansive sound in a live setting.

:The Eastern Sea – Wasn’t For Love:

Sorne

An artist in all aspects of the word, Sorne is one of Austin’s most buzzed about acts.  For proof of how enthusiastic everyone is about this guy, take a look at his Kickstarter, where he just raised over $16,000 to fund his new album.

:Sorne – Ego Altar:

A Giant Dog

I know some of you are hoping to find a way for Austin to punch you in the face, and that’s why I made sure to include A Giant Dog.  They just released the very good Bone, and their live show was meant for the chaos that often comes with SXSW.

:A Giant Dog – Teasin’ Ass Bitch:

The Couch

The Couch have been one of my favorite local acts over the last three or four months.  Their live shows are a upbeat and fun, and I really dig the pop rock sound that makes up their self titled full length (released late last year).

:The Couch – Kick The Can:

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Stream This

March 1, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

David Bowie – The Next Day
Cloud Cult – Love
Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In
Rhye – Woman
The Cave Singers – Naomi
Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
Jamaica Queens – Wormfood
Suuns – Images Du Futur
Blue Hawaii – Untogether
The Men – New Moon
Javelin – Hi Beams
Shlohmo – Laid Out
Idiot Glee – Life Without Jazz

VIDEOS

Brazos will release Saltwater on May 28 via Dead Oceans.

Ra Ra Riot’s Beta Love is out now on Barsuk.

Melody’s Echo Chamber released a self titled album late last year.

The M Machine just put out Metropolis Pt. II on OWSLA.

Bleached will release Ride Your Heart via Dead Oceans on April 2.

Yukon Blonde’s Tiger Talk is out now.

Blackbird Blackbird have an EP out now called Boracay Planet.  They play the Mohawk with STRFKR on March 7.

STRFKR will release Miracle Mile on April 1 via Polyvinyl.  As noted above, they play the Mohawk on March 7.

Matt And Kim released Lightning last year.

Ducktails have an album out now on Domino called The Flower Lane.

Kate Nash will release Girl Talk on March 5.

Computer Magic will release a new 7″ on March 12.

This is a new single from GEMS.

David Bowie will release The Next Day on March 12.

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Quickdraw: Purity Ring, Big Deal, La Luz, White Fence, Youth Lagoon

February 19, 2013

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Today’s music would like to show you the world.  Enjoy.

:Purity Ring – Grammy (Soulja Boy Cover):  I’m not all a fan of Soulja Boy, but somehow he keeps finding his way onto my site.  Weird.  Anyhow, this cover has instantly become a huge guilty pleasure for me.  Blast it, friends.  This track was released to promote Purity Ring’s upcoming tour.  See the dates here.

:Big Deal – Teradactol:  While I liked last year’s Lights Out, I thought it had a variety of moments where it could have used a bigger sound.  This single says Big Deal felt the same way, and now I’m excited to check out their sophomore effort.  June Gloom is due June 4 via Mute.

:La Luz – Call Me In The Day:  The fancy folks over at Burger Records have a release schedule for February that includes 16 cassettes from a wide range of artists.  This song is off La Luz’s Damp Face EP (currently available), and it’s one hell of a charming, hooky pop number.

:White Fence – Pink Gorilla:  Prefer your psych rock to be accessible and laced with catchy retro vocals?  Then I think you’re going to really dig this new White Fence track.  Cyclops Reap is due out April 9 via Castleface.  The band is also set to play Psych Fest on April 28.

:Youth Lagoon – Mute:  I think it’s safe to say that Youth Lagoon can currently lay claim to having one of the year’s most anticipated albums.  Dropla was a great song, and now there’s this swirling gem.  Wondrous Bughouse is due March 5 via Fat Possum.

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Youth Lagoon

January 17, 2013

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Youth Lagoon are back with a new album.  I didn’t really spend much time with 2011′s The Year Of Hibernation, but I do remember seeing them live once, and I thought they were fantastic.  Anyhow, below you’ll find the stellar first track off the upcoming Wondrous Bughouse, which is now very much on my list of albums I’m excited to hear.  It’s due out March 5 via Fat Possum.  Enjoy.

:Youth Lagoon – Dropla:  This track isn’t exactly the most uplifting, so don’t feel bad if after the first listen you just want to go stare out of a window and “think” for a while.  Once that passes, though, you should come back for the song’s beautiful arrangement.  If you have some nice headphones, use them.

Bonus Video:

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